Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.
Steward Health Care, which in 2018 took over the now-defunct 30-year private concession of three state hospitals, is being sued by a small Gozitan firm for not paying its bills for coffee and snacks.
A new court case was filed in the Gozo Court last month by Qala-based Gelluxa Supplies Limited, alleging Steward failed to pay a bill of under €10,000 despite various reminders.
Copies of invoices presented in court and seen by The Shift show that the American-based company, described by Health Minister Chris Fearne as “the real deal” when it took over the concession, has outstanding bills for supplies of tins of coffee, sugar, rubbish bags, milk, butter, coffee cups, biscuits, sliced cheese, teabags, and air fresheners that were all delivered to the Gozo Hospital.
The total bill, run up between January and March 2023, is €8,858.28.
Gelluxa now wants Steward Malta Management Ltd, whose sole director is Armin Ernst, to settle the bill with interest and without further delay.
Steward’s concession was terminated by the government only last April because of a court decision instituted by lawyer and former Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia.
The court declared the deal signed between the government and Vitals Global Healthcare (VGH) and then Steward as fraudulent, ruling it null and void. The decision was confirmed by the Court of Appeal.
During the time of the now aborted concession, between 2015 and 2023, the Maltese government paid Steward some €400 million, even though VGH was forced to sell to Steward as it became insolvent. Despite this, none of the multi-million promised investments were carried out by VGH or Steward.
This is not the only unsettled bill that Steward has left pending.
A few weeks ago, The Shift reported on a €37 million pending VAT bill Steward owes the Maltese government.
Initially issued in 2021, the government’s concessionaire challenged the bill in court but lost the case.
According to the most recent court proceedings, Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti decided to postpone “sine die” his decision on an appeal, as Steward’s lawyer, Joseph Camilleri, declared that he was no longer representing the company.
The Shift is informed that this is because he also has not been paid.
Hospital sources said that Steward also has many other pending bills with various local suppliers, who are now expected to take legal action to recover their dues.
Steward is also in trouble in the US, where it owes almost half a billion dollars to one creditor- a hospital property company that leases the company several hospitals. In addition, it has faced multiple lawsuits in several states in the last year for unpaid bills totalling tens of millions of dollars.